Chris Frosaker discusses what goes on behind-the-scenes in Hi-Wire’s expansions while the Sierra Nevada sustainability team offers an update on its work.
A study conducted by MountainTrue found an average of 19 microplastic particles — pieces smaller than 5 millimeters, formed by the breakdown of larger plastics — per liter of water in local river systems. Exposure to microplastics has been tied to allergic reactions and other health impacts in humans, as well as negative effects on fish.
Whether by hiking the debris flow pathway of a landslide or reading arcane scientific articles, Karin Rogers dedicates herself to understanding complex scientific data so she can translate that information for ordinary people to understand.
A recently completed study, commissioned by the French Broad River Partnership in 2019 and led by economist Steve Ha of Western Carolina University, sets the total economic value of the French Broad and its tributaries at $3.8 billion per year. By comparison, the Blue Ridge Parkway that also runs through Asheville creates about $1.3 billion in economic output per year.
The city in North Carolina’s rainiest county is putting much of its federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward stormwater infrastructure.
To honor its 10 year anniversary, Bee City USA and its local administrator, Asheville GreenWorks, are holding a yearlong Pollination Celebration.
The pending approval of a U.S. Forest Service plan for the roughly 1 million acres that the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests cover in Western North Carolina is likely to influence whether a large swath of the Craggy Mountains should be open for timber harvesting or managed for recreation.
The scenic roadway saw 15.9 million recreation visits in 2021, up from about 14 million in 2020; the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which also includes land in Western North Carolina, was in second place with over 14.1 million visits.
The Southern Environmental Law Center plans to file an objection over acreage perceived as being left at risk under U.S. Forest Service plan for Western North Carolina’s national forests.
Although the U.S. Forest Service has recommended that most of Big Ivy be managed for conservation or recreation, approximately 4,000 acres in the North Fork and Snowball Mountain areas has been flagged for potential logging.
“If leaders lead with love, then gender is not important,” says the Rev. Milly Morrow of Grace Episcopal Church. “Gender is a social construct, and binary is an illusion created by the patriarchy. And if we are going to follow Jesus, we must work to deconstruct empires, whether in Rome, Egypt or America.”
A proposed doubling of Weaverville’s water treatment capacity has met with cost concerns from town officials and environmental worries from some local residents.
Among the largest allocations are $12.2 million to accelerate the purchase and opening of Pisgah View State Park in Buncombe County, $7.2 million for the removal of hazardous dams in WNC and $5 million to upgrade the city of Hendersonville’s wastewater treatment plant.
With the notable exception of the IDA-certified dark sky park at the PARI in Transylvania County — one of only two such facilities in the state — no sky in Western North Carolina is untouched by light pollution. Central Asheville can reach as high as a 6 on the Bortle Scale, in which 1 is complete darkness and 9 is the Las Vegas Strip.
Approximately 65 people, mostly city employees and public officials, participated in an Oct. 20 ribbon-cutting atop the North Fork Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant dam’s new auxiliary spillway, one of several upgrades to the facility’s safety and climate resilience.
Six years in the making, a 300 kilowatt-hour solar array at Asheville’s Isaac Dickson Elementary School was officially dedicated Sept. 24. The $428,000 project is expected to save the school over $1.3 million in utilities costs over its 30-year operational lifespan.
On Aug. 12, a subsidiary of nonprofit Conserving Carolina completed the $7.8 million purchase of the currently unused Ecusta rail line, stretching 19 miles between Hendersonville and Brevard, from the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad.
According to the N.C. Climate Science Report prepared by N.C. State University’s Asheville-based N.C. Institute for Climate Studies and other experts, the area will likely experience more landslides in the coming years due to climate change.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, just 0.2% of workers in the four-county Asheville metro area commute by bike, less than half the national average. But the owners of Asheville’s first electric bike dealership, as well as and regional transportation planners, think e-bikes are likely to change that number.
The Solarize rate of $2.45 per watt of electricity generation is roughly 9% cheaper than the statewide average of $2.67 per watt listed by EnergySage, an industry website. The program, spearheaded by the nonprofit Blue Horizons Project, is able to offer the discount through bulk purchasing of solar equipment for Buncombe County residents.
“What is emerging is the idea that we’re now able to quantify what’s happening,” says Jennifer Harrison, agriculture and land resource director for Buncombe County, about the ability of farmers to combat climate change through practices like cover cropping and rotational grazing.